It had been months since I sat in front of my sewing machine. July, actually. The machine collected dust in the corner and any and all projects in the queue sat, neglected or forgotten or undone. I had ideas about this and that; a quilt, a knit hat, a new t-shirt handstitched. But these hands, they remained idle. Well, not idle but tapping out work or turning book pages or wrestling the young boys that fill so much of the hours, those precious ones that are open.
A huge factor in availability of precious hours is work. I think that is the norm for a working mother. A shift to a 5 day work week has rippling effects, it intensifies demands, crushes them into those precious hours and I find I choose making dinner over making 'something'. I find myself on the floor with Lincoln Logs rather than seated at the machine, watching them rather than myself.
There was a shift last week though, both boys sick after a return to the germ haven that is a small children's school. Tim caught the awful bug, my Mama came up against her own health issues, work lightened up. I found myself home more than not for the week. It was an odd feeling, so many hours open and not devoted to work. It felt good.
I found myself pulling out new fabrics, letting the quilt I have been imagining take root in color and shape and design. Math and measure and cutting table. My mind had space for it, even with the demands of small people and one big not feeling well. It felt luxurious.
Over the weekend I was able to pull together the quilt for my newest niece, born 3 weeks ago. I had started a simple red and white 9 patch for her, saw it joined in almost windowpane fashion. The blocks were pieced, sitting in the pile marked 'neglect'. But then she came and pictures of her (and a surprise name switch when she was born) and suddenly she was not Rose but Avery.
I spread the blocks out on the table and saw something else, saw Avery in it and started slicing away. Which is kinda' scary when you have already spent some time piecing together all those 9 patches. The result looked nothing like the initial concept. But then, little Avery is here now, a person who could not be imagined until she appeared and started to share that self.
(Some of it is wonky as all get out but the slicing and piecing improved with each block. Quilting, such a learning curve).
We meet her this week; travel North for job interviews, relocation logistics and then Friday, baby smooshing and kissing. I am so happy to go bearing gifts for her, something that carries all the love this whole household has for her already.
And so, onward to this week. Change is afoot, I felt unsettled and excited and hopeful and so damn scared when I glance around and imagine moving. But the time at the machine? It centers me. It is not the sewing, really. It is the making. The way making something makes me feel. I feel more real. And now the real Me has to move onto hand sewing the yellow binding that Tim suggested.
And when I get back from the Northern sojourn I have this nifty 'newly re-purposed' cabinet to organize and stack full of fabric. The man can do more than pick a wicked binding.